Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Only Way for America To Truly Be Great Again:

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people." -Proverbs 14:34 NIV
We have been granted a brief reprieve, but we are a deeply divided nation and that division will get deeper and more violent unless we, the church, lead our nation into a revival of repentance and righteousness.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

An Exhortation to the Church

Do you see the signs of the times?

Do you understand the events of man and the work of God in these days?  
For these days are like unto those of Jeremiah, Daniel, Habakkuk, and Malachi. 
They are like unto John on the island of Patmos.

In these days do not trust in political solutions, says the Lord. Do not trust in the arm of flesh. Do you not remember that the arm of Flesh will fail you, you dare not trust your own?  

Put on the gospel armor, put on each piece with prayer and stand firm uniting your shields in faith.  Then take up the sword of the spirit which is the word of God and pray with perseverance in the Spirit for all the saints.

Did I not take Nebuchadnezzar off his throne and make him eat grass like a cow for seven years. Did I not and then restore him to his throne and make him give testimony to the whole world that I am the one who put kings on their thrones and I overrule the affairs of men, and that I can take the proud and crush them into dust.

Did I not give Daniel favor before kings without compromising his faith in me? Did I not close the mouths of lions before Daniel and keep the fire from Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego? Did I not give Ezra favor with Cyrus to rebuild the house of the Lord in Jerusalem and then Nehemiah favor to rebuild the walls?

Can your governments pass any law that I cannot overrule?  Can any dictator challenge my power?  So why do you keep placing your hope and your trust in the arm of flesh in these evil days?

When I call you to step out of the boat and walk on the water with me, will you keep your eyes on me or will you be in fear of the waves rolling around you? Will you walk with me on the waves or continue to trust in a boat made with human hands?

Can I not prepare a table for you in the presence of your enemies? In my arms can anything touch you unless I permit it? Keep your eyes on me and you will face the lions without fear. Keep your eyes on me and you will face the fire and the sword surrounded with my peace which the world cannot give.

Keep your eyes on me and you will walk to me on top of the waves of turmoil that are coming up in the world.

Put your eyes on me, now step out of the boat and walk with me on the waves.


______________________________________


For some time I have been seeking the Lord for wisdom regarding the moral and political direction of the church in our increasingly pagan culture. I have had parts of the exhortation shared above for some time, but a few weeks ago I woke up early Sunday and the words of this exhortation came so clearly into my spirit that I immediately got up and wrote it down. 

The Lord is not leading us to stay out of politics…Daniel was a prophetic and political figure in his times. God is reminding us not to trust in political solutions, to not compromise our faith, and He is exhorting us to trust Him and learn to follow. “Dare to be a Daniel…” (Do you remember the rest of that old SS chorus?) Oh how we need more young and old Daniels today.

Feel free to share as you feel led. Click here for a pdf

Please take time to read:
 "A WORD ABOUT THE ELECTION"  
R. Loren Sandford  - Prophetic Moments #94..

Blessings,
Dave 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Culture and Ministry Post from Dave

Yesterday I attended a "withinREACH" pastors luncheon on raising our evangelistic temperature. The feature speaker was Rick Richardson who shared an organic Church Evangelism Initiative which incorporates with the BLESS missional practices (B-Begin with Prayer, L-Listen, E-Eat, S-Serve, S-Story). I feel this could be helpful here in Omaha.

I so appreciated Rick's triangle illustration on maintaining balance in ministry (Upward-Worship, Inward-Fellowship, Outward-Outreach). I hope we don't skip too quickly over the upward and inward evaluations in our enthusiasm to reach those farthest from Jesus...which leads to the purpose of this post.

Like many of you I have condensed my internet reading down to a few selected sites and blogs. One of mine is James Emery White. I read his most recent blog this morning, which was suspiciously timely after our luncheon yesterday, "Three Ways Meck Could Have Been Much Bigger Than It Is... that I don't regret" (see below)

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book is "The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated."

Blessings, Dave




Vol. 12, No. 81 
Last week marked Meck’s 24th anniversary, a church I had the privilege of planting in October 1992 and where I have served as pastor ever since. We started humbly with 112 people in a tropical storm. Over the years we’ve grown to around 10,000 active attenders, with 40,000 or so in our wider orbit.

In the spirit of our anniversary, my last blog was about the three ways Meck could have been much bigger than it is that I deeply regret. You can read it here.

As I wrote in the earlier blog, bigger isn’t everything, I know. It’s not even always better. But I am from the school of thought that numbers matter because they represent people, and people matter. So how you “get” those numbers matters, too.

So here’s the second installment: Three ways Meck could have been bigger that I do not regret.


1. I could have sacrificed my family.

Without a doubt, Meck would be much larger than it is today if I had sacrificed my family on the altar of ministry.

I didn’t.

And I’m glad.

While my kids were at home, I refused the vast majority of night meetings and events. I set aside weekly “Family Days” to spend with my wife and children. I worked hard and put in my fair share of hours, but not at the expense of my family.

The result?

Maybe a smaller church, but a much stronger family. And a family that loves the church. So many “PKs” do not. All four of my children are in fulltime vocational ministry.

All four.

If you want more details on this, I outlined a bit more about raising “PKs” in my book What They Didn’t Teach You in Seminary (Baker).

2. I could have focused on transfer growth.


At Meck, we aren't attempting to lure believers from other churches by having glitzier services and better programs.

We’re trying to turn atheists into missionaries.

And that’s hard.

We would be so much bigger if we focused on transfer growth. Quite frankly, that’s easy.

Think of it this way:

Imagine that someone wants to fly from Charlotte to Atlanta. When making their flight reservation, they will make a consumer decision based on flight times, costs, customer service, etc.

Getting them to switch from, say, Delta to American is easy. Just offer them a better deal, better experience and better service. Why is it easy?

THEY WANT TO FLY.

Now think about someone who not only does not want to fly from Charlotte to Atlanta; they do not even like airplanes! Or airports! Or flying!

Think about what it would take to get them to book a flight, drive to the airport, park their car, go through security, wait at the gate, and sit down in seat 13C.

Like I said, transfer growth is so much easier than conversion growth. And Meck would be so much bigger if that was our focus.

And I am so glad it’s not.

I’m kind of a Great Commission guy.

I think Jesus was, too.

3. I could have avoided talking about controversial social issues and theology, and made each service a pep rally.


Many believe that the popularity and success of Billy Graham was due, in large part, to keeping his evangelistic voice without falling into a prophetic voice.

In like manner, I’ve often heard pastors, particularly of large churches, say that they do not want to speak out on the issues of the day for the sake of keeping their focus on the gospel and not alienating people on the front end.

But this would be a gross misunderstanding of not only Graham, but evangelism itself.

Graham took stands against racism and many other social ills of his day, often at great personal cost. He was an evangelist, to be sure, but the lesson he learned was not to avoid social issues, but to avoid politics. In fact, his involvement in politics early on in his ministry, particularly with Richard Nixon, proved to be one of his greatest regrets. He also learned to avoid the minor theological arguments that divided Christians – the nonessentials.

He stuck to the “mere Christianity” of C.S. Lewis.

But never at the expense of orthodoxy.

And never at the expense of social issues in general.

Graham took on the biggest issue of his day: segregation.

And he never lost his evangelistic voice along the way. In fact, his was the greatest voice of his generation.

Does this thin out the crowd? Yes, in a very Jesusy way. Do you remember what He said when the crowds got a little big about eating flesh and drinking blood? And the scriptural narrative notes that many then stopped flocking to His side?

You can almost hear the thoughts of Jesus in the background:

“So much the better.”

The goal wasn’t simply numbers.

The goal was disciples.

The goal is not to avoid offending people. It’s to offend them with the scandal of truth, the scandal of the gospel, the scandal of submission, at every appropriate point.

Jesus made it very clear that He did not come to bring peace but a sword, and rumor has it His own life did not end in a crowning but a crucifying.

And at the end, He had very few followers rallying around the foot of the cross.

But I am so glad He went there.

James Emery White


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Note to First Responders from Dave: 

Sheryl and I are up north again on one of our Ministry/Family/Downtime trips. We will be offline (no Cell or Internet) from Thur afternoon through Sunday afternoon.in a cabin deep in the woods off Lake Superior and not far from the Canadia.  We will be home the evening of the 4th.

We are so thankful that we have not had Homicides for a while, but just in case Pastor Bruce will be coordinating with our lead team of Dave Wininger, Al Harrell, Todd Johnson and Jami Anders.

We appreciate so much your commitment to prayer in our city and also for us personally. Last Saturday up here we facilitated our third team ministry time to one of my oldest friends with ALS. We are all believing God's word, seeking and asking for a miracle healing. So far the only leading I feel strongly from the Lord is to "Pray Aggressively and not Dilly-Dally".

Tuesday night Sheryl and I celebrated 47 years together with a worderluf dinner at Norway Ridge way back in the woods north of Brainerd between to lakes.  This was so special for us as last year at this time I was just a few days from bypass. We are so thankful to the Lord for giving us a bit more time on earth together.  I ofthe remind Sheryl that the longer we are here together the shorter we will be appart. 


Tomorrow we head north to check up on some leaders we cared for earlier this spring and for a couple days in a cabin on a lake and then exploring and fishing on lakes we used to camp on with youth...many from Omaha churches and youth ministries in North Omaha...one year I took 10 Sudanese refugee teens into this special wilderness where we have seen many Divine connections. I love tent camping in the Boundary Waters but this trip is Cabin and motorized fishing boat....👬

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Musings of a Nebraska Grandpa...

"Car runs red light, hits mail truck, driver suspected of DUI"
"Passenger freed from truck wreck, driver faces DUI charge"
"Awaiting sentencing for motor vehicle homicide, arrested for armed robbery"

These are three overnight headlines from just one news source this morning in Omaha regarding DUI related crashes. Am I the only one feeling that DUI related incidents have increased significantly the last few years? When I was younger there was a saying "Nothing good happens after midnight." Now it is mostly after 2:00 AM ever since Omaha gave the bars another hour a few years ago.

I found an interesting 2010 news article: Update: Mayor Supports Extending Bar Closing Time To 2am The reasoning, to quote Mayor Suttle: "This is an opportunity for our city to stay competitive with other metropolitan areas and puts Omaha on similar footing as cities such as Denver, Colorado, that have a 2am last call,”

The article goes on to say that "All the states that border Nebraska let bars stay open until 2 a.m. Those in favor of a later closing time say we're losing money to our neighbors across the bridge."

In another quote Mayor Suttle said, “This proposed ordinance makes our community more competitive in attracting events that bring people to our city, which grows our local economy. This change is an opportunity for our city that we should not let pass us by.”

Do these arguments sound familiar...like with gambling and legalizing marijuana?
  • And you can get good info regarding the current battle regarding gambling from my good friend Pat Loontjer with Gambling With The Good Life.
So has anyone done a study on the increase in DUI related costs in property, income, human life and for families since changing the bar closing times?

So now we not only give drinkers another hour any night of the week to get completely plastered before getting behind the wheel...hoping they get safely home to families harmed by their drinking... we are actually considering letting them do so while legally high and after losing family income at casinos... just so our city and state can get a bigger percentage of the cut...

 Dave Gehrls

Saturday, February 13, 2016

First Responders Double Homicide PrayerWalk: Sunday, February 14th: 3:00 PM at 2511 N. 140th Street

News Reports:Two brothers, John Edwards, 35, and Jason Edwards, 41, were shot to death Friday morning while helping their sister Julie remove her belongings from a home at 2511 N. 140th St. after a breakup with Kenneth Clark, 45. Clark then held Julie hostage for several hours home during a standoff and eventually released her. The standoff came to a conclusion about 10:00 PM when deputies shot teargas into the home then sent in a robot which found Clark dead of apparent suicide.

Both John and Jason Edwards left wives and children. I do not have contact info for the Edwards families so would appreciate help connecting to and notifying the family with the time and purpose our PrayerWalk.

Directions for PrayerWalk:
At 3:00 PM meet at 2511 N. 140th St.in the Green Meadows neighborhood just north of Blondo which is in an unincorporated section of west Omaha.
Take 141st Street North from Blondo 2 blocks to Burdette the east to 140th Street then north to 2511. This will be a gravel street.


Thank You so much for being part of the church of Omaha helping to bring peace to the streets of our city.


About First Responders PrayerWalking:
  • The Bible says that human bloodshed is violence to the land and all its inhabitants. First Responders helps to mobilize the body of Christ to timely onsite prayer at crisis events in our community. We want to say to victims and neighborhoods: “You are not alone! We are from churches all over Omaha coming together to stand united against violence.”
  • First Responders PrayerWalks are a community response to violence. They are not prayer-vigils on behalf of the family. Family members are invited if we have contact info, and our team reaches out to care and minister to them as Jesus would.
  • First Responders encourages people in neighborhoods to connect and get involved with local churches and organizations. We work to help people get to know their local police better, communicate, build trust and work with our police in reducing violence.
  • In 2007 John Ewing and Dave Gehrls developed First Responders in partnership with Omaha 360, Empower Omaha, OPD, and other local groups.  More information is at prayerwalking.gehrls.net or if you would like to be added to the First Responder team, send an email to Dave at firstresponders@cfci.org with your personal contact info and the church you attend.